Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics alumnus Ed Wei (BCS ’06) is overseeing a new use for his company’s indoor mapping technology — the identification of front-line workers who may be at a higher chance of being exposed to COVID-19 inside hospitals and other health-care facilities.

Mappedin has developed an employee contact tracing application to understand who is at risk when, in the unfortunate case, a worker becomes COVID positive. There are existing solutions on the market that offer contact tracing, but they have been built primarily for the outdoors and do not offer scalable solutions for the indoors, Wei says.

“Institutions that continue to operate, particularly hospitals and health-care facilities, need to be able to identify those who have potentially been exposed to other employees with COVID-19,” says Wei, chief technology officer at Mappedin. “By tracking key personnel and others they have come into contact with, businesses can better understand who is at risk of being infected.”

Ed Wei

Ed Wei (BCS ’06)

Mappedin’s core offering is a digital map foundation to create, maintain, and deploy indoor maps. In response to COVID-19, Mappedin is leveraging Apple Maps’ free indoor positioning to understand employee movements within parameters. They use a front-end web application to showcase at-risk personnel and those who were in close proximity to them within the venue.

Along with contact tracing technology, Mappedin provides accurate and up-to-date digital maps so that businesses can offer an experience that is safe and efficient. For example, grocery stores can navigate shoppers quickly through their stores and warehouses can help employees find products faster. With a map manager tool that showcases edits in real-time, companies can set preferred routing or block access points.

When Wei joined Mappedin as director of engineering in 2014, he did not envision working on a tool that would be so helpful in a pandemic. Wei credits his experience at Waterloo for having prepared him to be able to adjust to any work environment. “The biggest value that I got from Waterloo was its co-op program and its placement of students into different companies,” Wei said. “I think Waterloo’s computer science program is also really top-notch. I have interviewed so many other students from other schools, and Waterloo, by far, has one of the best programs. Their students really know what they’re doing, and the program is working.”